I am going to present what I THINK is the condition of the Catholic Church today as espoused by the Magisterium and interpreted by Catholic scholars and apologists (again from my understanding). After this, I will ask why I should believe this “condition” is a condition that should exist in God’s church. From my reading on this and similar subjects I will offer what I think might be a “Catholic Answer,” but since I do not accept this as a valid answer I will explain my thoughts. At the end I will offer some thoughts on what would undermine my thesis.
The condition of the Catholic Church today is that the Pope, the college of the Cardinals, the Magisterium, and any Catholic authority (Bishops gathered in an Ecumenical or Local Council or dispersed throughout the world) are not inspired (and do not receive public revelation) for the teaching of the faith and resolving controversies within the church. BTW, I use the term “public revelation” to mean revelation for the corporate leading / teaching of the church. If you want to use a different term for the “revelation for the corporate leading / teaching of the church” we can explore that term.
Vatican I outlines Papal Infallibility and while the language is less clear than what I am about to share explains that Papal Infallibility is not inspiration or revelation to solve theological controversies. Do I misread?
The CCC under the heading, “There will be no further Revelation.” Says:
The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This comes from Dei Verbum one of the Vatican II documents.
From Apologist Patrick Madrid (Pope Fiction p. 140):
The only pope who was inspired and who received revelation from God to be given to the whole Church was Simon Peter. After he went home to his heavenly reward, all the subsequent popes have had to do their job of teaching and preserving the deposit of faith the old fashion way: They learned it.
From Apologist Dave Amstrong (bolding mine):
The grace of conservation is different from the grace of positive Inspiration and Revelation in that no new realities are revealed; but the grace of conservation is equally inerrant in the Church as a whole, since it is a grace, a supernatural gift preserving what was once revealed by positive Inspiration and now repeated substantially in non-inspired words
, sacramental actions, authoritative decisions by the Apostles’ successors and in Scripture communally understood.
I am not suggesting that apparitions of Mary or Eucharistic miracles are incongruent with the Catholic faith. I am not suggesting that a Catholic cannot pray to know what job to take and be inspired by God to choose this or that. Even a Pope may have a vision that helps him (but were he to have a vision, he would be incorrect if he believed it was divine revelation delivered to him as the Vicar of Christ for the purpose of leading the Catholic Church, he could believe it was God strengthening him for his tasks or … but not revelation for the purpose of leading the Catholic Church).
I am saying that the inspiration/revelation evident in the New Testament, the Council of Jerusalem, and the Old Testament; is absent in the Catholic Church today.
The above illustrates what I called the “condition.”
Catholics and I agree that Peter is the only inspired leader that Catholic believes lead the Catholic Church. Catholics and I agree that all those who Catholics claim succeeded Peter at the head of the Catholic Church are not inspired in their leadership duties.
Why is this?
I propose a Catholic answer and a non-Catholic answer. One is that there is something important to God’s way of interacting with His children through His Church that is absent after the death of the inspired men who lived in the First Century. The other is that God after the First Century came to a close never intended to have inspired men lead His Church via Divine Revelation until Christ’s return to the earth to take His place as King of Kings. For the Catholic Church to teach infallibly the latter of these two options must be true and if it is the CoJCoLDS cannot be a restoration of God’s chruch.
So, what is it within the Bible or other ancient witness that would lend support to the Catholic view (other than that revelation inside the Catholic Church actually did cease)? Where in sacred scripture (preferably) or sacred tradition (I would like to review) does God explain that there would be no more revelation to guide His church.
Now, the God we worship saved the world by the act of Joseph’s brothers selling him into slavery. In some sense everything that happens happens because it is in alignment with God’s will. But I am looking for something that might come from an inspired man that explains that the church will be led by non-inspired men. What inspired utterances tell me to expect the ceasing of inspired utterances?